Call for parties to skip pettiness, bring welfare manifesto

Volunteers of the Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) hold a flash mob protest outside the Congress office on Sunday.

A number of people came together on Sunday to urge the three main political parties to stop bickering over issues that do not matter to the public and instead release their respective manifestoes for Bengaluru’s development.

The Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) conducted flash mob protests outside the offices of the ruling Congress as well as the opposition JD(S) and the BJP. “Polling will happen in less than a month but the parties have not yet put forward anything to help people chose the candidates,” said Tara Krishnaswamy of the CfB. 

Volunteers held placards and struck unusual poses asking, “Where is the party manifesto?” and “#BengaLurigeBeku citizens’ manifesto”.

In a press statement, the CfB said the flash mob was done “to send a strong message that none of the parties has released their manifestoes detailing what they plan to deliver to the public even with just over three weeks of time left for polling day.”

In December, the CfB released a citizens’ manifesto, ‘Pattanada Patti’, listing the immediate needs of people in the city. The manifesto laid out a vision for Bengaluru based on the demands and ideas raised by people during the ‘Beku Beda Santhe’ movement. 

The CfB said that when asked about the manifesto, the representatives of all the three parties “chorused they are waiting for the candidates’ lists”. “It was apparent that the BJP manifesto is not ready. The JD(S) has been waiting for other parties to release their manifestos first.

If the parties show just 1% of the interest that they show in candidate selection and ticket distribution, in formulating a vision for the city, this election will be meaningful,” it said.

Another member of the CfB, Srinivas Alavilli, said: “CfB released the citizens’ manifesto months ago and it is disappointing that the political parties with all their organisational strength do not have a manifesto even on April 15. On what basis do they expect citizens to vote for them? We went to every party office to alert them that time is running out and they must release in the next couple of days.”

Tara said: “If an organisation comprising a handful of people can come up with a manifesto, why can’t political parties that have huge resources? A candidate has just over three weeks to convince people of his/her credibility and capability to fulfil the promises.”

‘Less time for canvassing’

Tara said the announcement of the polling dates at the last minute had left little time for canvassing. Since there are no primaries, the ticket distribution process is not transparent and the entire attention is focused on the candidates’ list, she noted.

She further said the CfB hoped some of the demands in the people’s manifesto would reflect in that of the parties. “It’s our job to hold them accountable. We will follow up on the issues before and after the elections,” she said. 

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